Zillionize invests in Impossible Mining – Deep Sea mining for EV battery materials without harming the environment using underwater robotic vehicles

Impossible Mining is building underwater robotics vehicles which collect battery metals in polymetallic nodules from the seabed without harming the environment. Polymetallic nodules are found on the deep ocean seabed in vast quantities and are rich in critical battery metals. Especially nickel, cobalt, manganese, and copper. These metals are the most expensive part of Electric Vehicle construction.

Impossible Mining sets themselves about from their competitors by being environmentally friendly. Their aim is to deliver mining solutions that are vastly better for people and the planet than existing land-based mining and concept seabed mining approaches. Impossible Mining believe these solutions will be responsible, ethical, sustainable, cost effective and profitable. Their process is carbon neutral, prevents habitat loss, prevents biodiversity loss, and prevents the displacement of people.

Founding team

The Impossible Mining founding team includes Jason Gillham (CTO), Renee Grogan (Chief Sustainability Officer), and Oliver Gunasekara (CEO). Jason is a serial founder. He is the founder and former CEO of 2G Robotics which was acquired by Sonardyne Group in early 2020. After which he became the VP of Business for Independent Robotics. Afterwards he became the Founding Executive Director for the South Georgian Bay Innovation and Technology Accelerator.  Renee is a sustainability expert with 16 years of experience in due diligence, pre-feasibility and feasibility, permitting, strategy, risk and community and stakeholder engagement. She has worked predominantly in the extractive resources industry, including consulting to financial institutions, resources companies, government and intergovernmental agencies, NGOs and research institutions. Oliver is a Serial Founder, Entrepreneur, Investor and Advisor in DeepTech/ClimateTech with 30+ years of experience.  He is experienced in business development, product management and corporate strategy. Oliver founded and ran NGCodec as its CEO for 7 years until he successful exit to Xilinx in 2019. Xilinx was later acquired by AMD.  He was also the VP and Global Head of Corporate Development for Arm (Semiconductor Manufacturing).

Hard Technology for an Evolving Market

Currently around 5% of new car sales are electric. This is forecasted to be around 50% by 2030. This growth will put immense pressure on battery metal supply chains and is expected to lead to a deficit of metals by 2030. As a result, leading automotive manufacturers are accessing metals from increasingly sensitive terrestrial locations such as rainforests and lowland forests. Impossible Mining is an developing an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) robotic fleet for harvesting seep sea polymetallic nodules while limiting any potential environmental damage. These AUVs will operate at depth greater than 4,000 meters using multiple robotic arms to collect the polymetallic nodules.

Robotic arm test tank video

Animation visualization video

Summary

Impossible Mining is an impressive company with a driven team of founders. Their solution will protect the environment while suppling the needed raw materials for EV battery construction.

We’re always on the lookout for difficult ideas executed by exceptional founders, especially those who participate in Y-Combinator. If you feel like that describes your situation, then you’re welcome to get in touch.